From the Summer Palace we walked down to the pearl factory that sell the pretty Summer Palace lake’s pearls. We had a little demonstration on pearls and how to recognize the real from the fake (by rubbing them together – if it leaves behind a fine powder but the surface of the pearl isn’t damaged, you can be sure that it’s the real thing) and it was quite wonderful to see how an oyster with pearls in it, gets opened! Did you know that an oyster can produce up to 25 pearls? Well, that is if you inject the oyster with 25 sand particles! Anyhow, I bought myself a lovely pearl bracelet – for just a meager R100 ($12) - and haven’t taken it off since.
Our last stop was dinner – a “Hotpot” – that is basically just a chicken broth that is individually heated by a little kerosene stove, in which you then boil thin slices of beef and veggies. Eaten with rice, a Hotpot is really yummy and rounded of by a deep-fried red bean rice cake. We dined at the prettiest of restaurants, very 1920’s and I thought a long black dress with my new pearls and 1920’s finger-waved hair, would’ve worked well!
On the way back to the hotel, “the Jerry” announced that we could, should we want to, book a massage for the evening. By now, after a long day of walking and exploring, a massage seemed like a really good idea so Gill and I immediately signed on. The massage was great and as if I wasn’t completely relaxed before, my masseuse rubbed away every last bit of tension I might have had.
One would think that after a nice long soak and massage, us girls would be tired as can be, but that was not the case – we couldn’t help but resume our giggles and after putting on our hotel slippers, we went to explore our hotel. We found a Baskin Robbins and decided to end our night with a lovely bit of cheesecake gelato, and then it was off to bed, until the phone rang again……for day three…..(to be continued)